Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s largest contract chipmaker, outspent the 1,024 local manufacturers listed on the main bourse and the over-the-counter market in research and development (R&D) last year, government statistics showed on Tuesday.
Citing the data, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said that the chipmaker poured NT$48.1 billion (US$1.59 billion) into research and development last year, an increase of 19.1 percent from the amount it spent previous year.
Last year marked the fourth consecutive year that TSMC has posted a double-digit increase in research and development spending, the ministry said.
Analysts said that the higher amount spent by TSMC for research and development reflected solid global demand for mobile devices and chips made using its high-end technology.
Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) — the world’s largest contract electronics maker, which assembles iPhone and iPad for Apple Inc — was the nation’s No. 2 research and development spender last year, increasing its expenditure in the field by 2.1 percent from 2012 to NT$46.6 billion last year.
Integrated circuit designer MediaTek Inc (聯發科) placed third with NT$26.5 billion spent on research and development, a rise of 18.2 percent from the previous year.
According to the ministry’s statistics, the electronic components sector spent a total of NT$231.2 billion in research and development, accounting for 46.8 percent of the NT$494 billion spent by the 1,024 manufacturers listed on Taiwan’s markets last year.
The computer and optoelectronics segment spent NT$175.8 billion last year to account for 35.6 percent of the total research and development expenditure racked up by the manufacturing industry, the data showed.
‧ Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co:
‧ Hon Hai Precision Industry Co: NT$46.6 billion
‧ MediaTek Inc:
‧ Electronic components sector: NT$231.2 billion, or 46.8 percent of the total amount spent by listed manufacturers
‧ Computer and optoelectronics segment: NT$175.8 billion, or 35.6 percent of the total sum spent by listed manufacturers
TSMC also ranked as the nation’s biggest investor in fixed assets last year, pouring in NT$287.6 billion into fixed assets to surpass second-placed China Steel Corp (中鋼), which invested NT$60.7 billion, and Hon Hai, which allocated NT$44.4 billion to fixed assets, according to the ministry’s figures.
The statistics showed that the 1,024 manufacturers’ total investments in fixed assets fell 5.3 percent annually last year to NT$1.17 trillion.
However, that decline was significantly less steep than the 14.5 percent year-on-year drop seen in 2012.
The electronic components segment invested NT$605.9 billion in fixed assets last year, down 1.7 percent from the previous year, and accounted for 52 percent of total investments
Last year, the total net profit posted by the 1,024 manufacturers rose 69 percent from a year earlier to NT$966 billion, while their net profit margin stood at 4.3 percent, representing an annual increase of 1.8 percentage points, the ministry said.
The net profit margin of the electronics component segment rose by an annual 5.4 percentage points to 7.7 percent last year as the profitability of semiconductor suppliers improved, it added.